Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Expect the unexpected

Expect the Unknown

David Perkins, a retired U.S. four-star general, once said, “We should expect the unknown . . .”

We’ve heard versions of that quote before: Expect the unexpected. Be prepared for the unknown. But is this really possible? If we expect the unexpected, doesn’t that mean it’s no longer unexpected? And how can we expect what we do not know?

To expect the unknown is to be flexible, to be prepared for options we may not have intended to plan for. For the Christian, it means surrendering ourselves to God, understanding that His loving sovereignty rules our lives . . . and our schedules.

The unexpected may occur through a telephone call, a knock at the door, or a chance meeting. The unexpected might occur at home or at work, in the neighborhood or a thousand miles away. It might be serious and sad or fabulous and funny. It might even be a virus that shuts down an entire world.

Most of 2020 has been a series of unexpected events and circumstances. Remember interviewing for a job and being asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Five years ago, who would have ever thought we would be where we are—an entire world with the shared experience of a pandemic! The COVID-19 virus definitely fits the category of the unknown!

A Christian’s entire life is built on the foundation of trusting a God who is never surprised. We belong to, and trust, a God who majors in the unexpected. Jesus’s first disciples learned this in living color as they moved from being frightened, scattered followers of a dead rabbi to bold proclaimers of the living God in mere days.

As I consider this year’s unexpected events, I need to remember God is not caught off guard by circumstances that are a surprise to me. The year 2020 has four months left, however I’ve stopped asking, “What else could go wrong?” I don’t want to know . . . but God already does. He not only knows what I don’t, He has also planned how He will use those events to fulfill His purposes.

Expect the unexpected. Christian can trust an unknown future to a known God. When we do, even the unexpected and unknown will work out for our ultimate good and God’s eternal glory.

Your turn:
When has the unexpected interrupted your day?
How did you respond?



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  1. Dave

    “If we expect the unexpected, doesn’t that mean it’s no longer unexpected?”


    Reminded me of Princess Bride. Vizzini? “I’m just getting started.”

    I like your perspective better.

    Thanks you!

  2. LR

    Amen. He is the Sovereign One. Why should we worry? A good reminder!

  3. Rayma Zugel

    We had the unexpected just this week in our family as our daughter had to have emergency gallbladder surgery. God is so good to have protected her from further harm, and now we must trust Him to provide for their needs in the coming weeks.

  4. Ava Pennington

    Oh, Rayma, so glad she’s okay!

  5. Melissa Henderson

    Each day can bring unexpected joy or sadness. I am thankful God is with us in all situations. Recently, my husband and I moved to a new home in a new neighborhood. We prayed that we would be a blessing to our new neighborhood. We have been greeted with wonderful new neighbors and visits (while social distancing). We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew God would be with us while we learn about our new surroundings. 🙂

  6. Diane

    I like the question you have at the end, “how do you respond to the unexpected that happens in your life?” Why just this morning I had an unexpected experience with my old car. Unexpected repair needs; I had to pray after I let out a huge, “ugh!” sound.


  7. Ava Pennington

    Been there, done that, Diane!

  8. Jessica Brodie

    Very good point—God is not surprised by what surprises us. He sees it all! That’s why it’s so important to cling to Him. He has the vision AND the solution.

  9. Karen Friday

    Ava, thanks for your thoughts here and unpacking how to expect the unexpected. I love this, “A Christian’s entire life is built on the foundation of trusting a God who is never surprised.”

  10. Kristi Ann

    Ava, thanks so much for sharing!! Amen and Hallelujah!!

    Love Always, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  11. Candice Brown

    Your story adds credence to yet another blog….. I love what you said about Christians being ok to expect the unexpected (even the unprecedented) because we know we can rely on Jesus. Flying monkeys spreading fifths diseases? Bring it on, 2020. And Dave’s Vizzini comment cracked me up. I can’t sleep; mariner’s I’ll pop in princess bride. Love you!

  12. Stephen De La Vega

    “What else could go wrong? I don’t know.” Ain’t that the truth! LOL

    Yes, Ava, it is so good to know a known God, one who doesn’t change and never stops caring or being in control. For us, life is pretty much the same except we’re doing it all from home. But I did personally lose my recreational team sport of ice hockey. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for adult recreational hockey and my body may not be in shape to pick it back up when the doors reopen!

  13. Yvonne Morgan

    Thanks for sharing your insight. We tend to get very comfortable with how life is occurring so that the unexpected leaves us feeling lost. Yes, we must learn to expect the unexpected and trust God to provide

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